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SPELT AND WHEAT INTOLERANCE

There is a myth that spelt does not contain gluten. Spelt does in fact contain gluten but the gluten in spelt has a different molecular make up which means that the body handles it differently. Gluten is a sticky substance with a consistency like glue which is difficult to digest (imagine chewing gum finding its way through your system) but which also gives dough its elasticity and allows bread to rise, making it very important for baking.

Wheat intolerance appears to be becoming more common as people consume increasing amounts of highly processed food products, with symptoms such as bloating, weight gain, headaches, joint pains and depression appearing as a result. 

As the genetic makeup of spelt is different to wheat it is a grain that many people who suffer wheat intolerance or sensitivity may be able to use. The molecular structure of the protein in spelt is both brittle and soluble, allowing it to be assimilated more easily.

Baker Andrew Whitley, author of the bestselling book Bread Matters, has been selling spelt bread since the 1990s and says: "Overwhelmingly, people come back and tell me that they tolerate spelt better than wheat bread." As spelt does contain gluten, it is unsuitable for coeliacs and people with a true gluten allergy, though many people with wheat intolerance find it a healthier alternative to hybridised wheat.



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